No amount of lead in drinking water is safe. I have been saying for many years that USEPA standards for contaminants in water are a political compromise.
Just because your water meets EPA standards (MCL) does not mean the water is ‘safe’. The standards start out with an orientation toward health. In other words, EPA looks for contaminants in water that can negatively affect your health. But then when they establish that standard they must consider the cost of forcing every water system in the country to meet that standard.
Joel Beauvias, the deputy assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, said the agency has “consistently said that no level of lead is safe.” But, he explained, the agency has to set limits that can be reasonably achieved.
The final MCL, or maximum contaminant level, established by EPA ends up being a compromise between health and cost. If you want to eliminate a particular contaminant, and I certainly suggest that you do, then you must do that on your own.
Here is an interesting article which cites EPA sources agreeing with my assessment about lead in drinking water:
Note in particular the discussion about sources of lead in drinking water.
The same is true for many contaminants …
I also want to make the point that this same level of concern is true for arsenic, radon, and many other contaminants in water.
This is why I advise consumers to read your local water quality report in order to determine exactly which contaminants are present in your water. I often receive phone calls from people who want to ‘get rid of everything’, but ‘everything’ isn’t likely to be in your water. Though it probably is if your source is the Potomac River or any other major river is the U.S. On the other extreme are the lazy consumers who just go online and buy a filter and then assume that they are protected.
You need to know what’s in your water so you can determine what you have to do to get rid of it.